It has been a great start to the Shared Sounds: Music and Wellbeing in Early Childhood project run by The Bureau Centre for the Arts in Blackburn, which began delivery in April 2022. The Youth Music funding has enabled us to develop our Shared Sounds programme, building on an earlier project. This includes running a core programme at The Bureau as well running an extended programme which connects us to a wider range of children and their families through partner organisations.
We have extended our core programme which now includes music session for Babies (birth to 1year), Early Years (age 1-4) and children with SEND and their parents/carers which run weekly at The Bureau. These sessions offer a mixture of led and freeplay musical activities, led by a specialist early years music practitioner and some of our team of volunteers and trainees. The children and their parents/carers can explore instruments, play musically, sing together and interact with others in an environment which supports individual needs. The latest funding has allowed us to extend our range of quality musical instruments, particularly in relation to supporting children with additional needs. We have also invested in props and materials to create exploratory environments linked to music activities, which encourage the children to play and investigate independently. We have also been able to continue supporting sessions with bags so that familied can continue exploring music in their own home.
Feedback from participants has been amazing:
“We really enjoy these sessions, and I think it has helped her development, coordination, confidence and ability to engage with other children so much! I love the atmosphere in the sessions where there is guided activities and songs... and free play time to explore other instruments and activities at the end. I really like the new additions to the room to make it more atmospheric and scenic like the fish and fabric hanging from the ceiling.” Zoe parent of child aged 1 year old.
The next stage of the project is to focus on extending our networks with partner organisations across the Blackburn with Darwen area. Our trainee workforce will be central to establishing new outreach sessions and supporting engagement with new families in their own communities.